Is Biblical Inerrancy a House of Cards?

I run into wonderful Christian people all the time who basically subscribe to this belief about the Bible:

"God inspired humans to write down exactly what God wanted them to write.  Therefore everything in the Bible, from Genesis to the Revelation, is God-breathed.  Since God is perfect, what he does is perfect, so the Bible is without error in everything it speaks of."

Although not a technical definition, this is the basic idea that is meant by the term "Biblical inerrancy".  This foundational belief leads to the next one:

"Good Christians believe everything the Bible says and never doubt it, regardless of what modern scholarship and science discovers. If there is a discrepancy between something in modern scholarship or science and the words of the Bible, good Christians will always hold to the Bible teaching and reject or doubt the modern discoveries."

Good, faithful people are taught that there are no discrepancies or contradictions in the scripture.  Or, if there are things that seem like contradictions, there is a way to "harmonize" the divergent facts and still hold to the doctrine of inerrancy.

Although this seems like a very "high" view of scripture, and very worshipful and faithful, there is an underlying problem that such a view of scripture sets up.  With such a view of the Bible, IF an error is found, the entire Bible is cast under suspicion.  "If there is an error can I be sure that there aren't errors in other places as well?  And if God didn't write the Bible perfectly, then how can I trust that I can follow it's teachings to find eternal life? How can I tell where it is true and where it is in error?"

Thus, under the idea of Biblical inerrancy, a single discrepancy or contradiction or error found in the Biblical texts can actual derail a person's entire faith in Jesus, and make their version of Christianity fall to pieces like a house of cards.

Likewise, people on the outside of Christianity looking in feel that they could NEVER become a Christian, because they would have to accept the Bible as inerrant, a position which is intellectually impossible for them to accept.

I believe the doctrine of Biblical inerrancy ultimately hurts the reputation of Christianity and Christians as well as sending faithful Christians into an unnecessary either/or choice between the Bible and science/scholarship.   What is needed is a different way of understanding what the Bible is and how we are to use it as a guide to our faith in God.


Popular posts from this blog

#me too (not me really, but some thoughts about the movement)

Dear Dave

Nothing happens the same way twice